Title: Pilot (Retired)
Company: U.S. Air Force
Location: Hunt, Texas, United States
Jack “Triple” Nickel, Lt. Col. (Ret.), USAF, a retired pilot of the U.S. Air Force, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Military for dedication, achievements, and leadership in the field of aeronautics.
With over 35 years of experience to his credit in the field of military service, Lt. Col. Nickel served as a pilot on behalf of the U.S. Air Force. Having flown virtually every fighter jet the branch had at its disposal from 1972 until 1997, including the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, the Northrop F-5, the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and the Northrop T-38 Talon, he earned distinction as a base commander, wing commander and squadron commander over the course of his term of service, during which time he parlayed his expertise as an instructor on behalf of less-experienced pilots. Likewise, Lt. Col. Nickel was assigned as an aggressor pilot at Nellis Air Force Base, a duty extended only to the most elite pilots.
Adjacent to his service to the U.S. Air Force, Lt. Col. Nickel distinguished himself as a research pilot with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Johnson Space Center. In this role, he had the privilege to fly not only the T-38, the Gulfstream I, the Super Guppy and, most impressively, the 747 that carried the space shuttle. Landing at the Kennedy Space Center to cheering crowds and the flash of cameras was a considerable highlight of his career. Additionally, Lt. Col. Nickel taught every shuttle pilot how to land the shuttle from 1990 until the end of the program in 2013.
Lt. Col. Nickel first studied at the California Polytechnic State University, from which he earned a Bachelor of Science in industrial technology and plant design in 1972. Over the course of his subsequent career, he is most proud to have received various accolades, including the Meritorious Service Medal, four Achievement Medals, and an Outstanding Performance Award from the U.S. Air Force. Additionally, in honor of his contributions at NASA, Lt. Col. Nickel served as the namesake for Asteroid 14511 Nickel, as conferred to him by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
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